Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray Him. Jesus knew what the prophecy said, but He also knew the heart of each person, and certainly one of the disciples, someone who had traveled with and lived with Jesus and the other disciples, someone who had sat down to listen to the lessons, someone who had seen first hand the many miracles Jesus performed. It doesn’t confuse me that Jesus would call Judas to follow Him, after all Jesus knew how the story of His life was going to play out, what confuses me is how, after all of that, Judas was still able to betray Jesus. I know that his heart had been hardened, that he was never a true believer or follower, I have read about how he was skimming money from the till, I know all that, but I still don’t understand all that.

When Judas led those who would arrest Christ into the garden, when he walked up to his friend to condemn him with a kiss, Christ knew what was happening, and still He said to Judas, “Friend, do what you came to do.” (Matthew 26:50). Jesus called him friend, he didn’t try to run away or stop what was happening, Christ fulfilled prophecy, just as Judas did. I can understand that Judas was fulfilling prophecy and that someone had to, what I can’t comprehend is how anyone who had seen what he had seen, who had lived with Christ and listened to the private lessons He had taught the disciples, how that person could betray Him. Lucky for me, I don’t have to comprehend it. Even Peter denied knowing Christ three times during that night, and after He was crucified, all of the disciples were frightened and unsure of what to do next. How quickly and easily men fall away from their faith, when troubles enter into their lives. Faith is easy when the road is easy, it is when things are difficult and messy though, when faith is tested that it is strengthened.

Today, our lives might not be fulfilling prophecy, but do our actions, our plans sometimes bring about the same response from Christ, does He look at what we are doing and simply say, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Mixed with free will is the risk that I will put my own will before the will of God. How often do I disappoint my savior with my behavior? How often has the Lord said those words to me, “Friend, do what you came to do.” As a Christian, a disciple, can I follow better if I listen for that response and adjust my plans according to His will for my life? This ability to fall away is why we need salvation in the first place, this is why we need the Holy Spirit to come and live within us. To strengthen our faith, to help guide us back when we stray, and to remind us of the will of God when our own desires begin to take over. Does this mean we cannot have dreams of our own? No, of course not, the Lord wants us to have dreams, He wants us to experience joy and happiness, He wants to bless us with so many gifts, but He also wants us to get there by following the path He has laid out for us.

Dear Lord, 

Please give me a heart that seeks You first, a mind that stays focused on Your will, a dream that does not conflict with being a child of God, saved and redeemed. Please allow me to listen, to hear You when you first begin to say to me, “Do what you came to do,”  please give me the strength to evaluate my own plans with an open mind and a heart led by the Holy Spirit, please bring me through in faith, and continued devotion to You, in gratitude for my salvation and the price You paid to bring me closer to You. In the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son and my Savior –

Amen